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Dead Island 2 offers up six playable characters, called slayers, each of which has their own unique stats, perks, and abilities. Some are better suited for beginner players, while others offer interesting abilities for those with particular play styles.

Unfortunately, once you pick a slayer at the start of the game, you’re locked into that character for the entirety of the game’s story. You don’t even get to try a character out before you make your decision, and some of the stats and abilities are a little unclear if you haven’t played before.

We’ve put together this guide listing all of the slayers, their stats, and unique abilities, along with our picks for which characters are the best to pick when starting out in Dead Island 2.

Dead Island 2: All playable characters - stats and abilities

DI2 Amy
DI2 Jacob
DI2 Bruno
DI2 Carla
DI2 Dani
DI2 Ryan

Dead Island 2: Best starting character

Depending on how you want to play, the best starting character in Dead Island 2 will differ. We’ve outlined a few different options depending on how you want to approach your time in Hell-A, but all of the characters have their strengths and weaknesses.

Best starting character for beginners

Jacob is by far the best character to choose if you’re just starting out, as he does just about everything at least a little bit well. His Feral damage boost is a godsend, as he’ll always be dishing out big damage after just a few hits, while his high health means you can stay in the action a little longer than other characters.

His low resilience does mean that fighting some particularly strong enemies can be a little dicey at times, but as long as you’re well-prepared before heading into battle, you should be able to breeze past just about any fight. He’s also probably the character with the least annoying dialogue, which doesn’t affect his combat abilities, but does affect how long you can put up with the game.

Best starting character for dealing damage

Bruno is a high risk, high reward character, but he’s deeply satisfying to play once you get the gameplay loop down. His skills mean that he’ll be dealing the most damage of just about any character in the game, and if you do a little bit of sneaking you’ll usually be able to get a bit of a leg up at the start of most combat encounters.

He is, however, very fragile, with the lowest maximum health of any playable character. That means you have to be on top of health pickups and medkits at all times, and you absolutely have to learn to dodge and block attacks well. He also performs particularly well in co-op, where another, more tanky character can take the heat while he takes down enemies from behind.

Best starting character for staying alive

If you want to stay alive the longest, Carla is your best bet. She’s got fantastic defensive stats and her damage output is boosted while fighting large groups of enemies, which is almost always.

She might not be the most powerful character in the game, but she does decent enough damage to make most combat encounters manageable. She’s a very low risk character, basically incapable of dying in even the most trying circumstances, and a good addition to any co-op lobby.